I knew this day was coming it was bound to happen.
The signs were everywhere, things were changing, I wrote about the possibility of it coming to fruition two years ago.
Even still the pessimist in me didn’t quite believe it, but now I do… The Baltimore Orioles are back and they are the most dangerous team in the American League.
We’ve been around this black before a bunch of times. The O’s start hot, look competitive, then around late May or early June they get left in the dust by the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox.
It was happening again this year, you saw that Jason Hammel was their “ace”, the improvement of Matt Wieters, how Adam Jones was bouncing back from a bad year and the rumors of Manny Machado being a cant miss prospect.
But these were the Orioles, how could I possibly take this seriously? Ever since I lived in Maryland I’ve seen this story.
Melvin Mora was their missing piece, Miguel Tejada would help turn the franchise around, Adam Loewen and Daniel Cabrera were aces in the making, and they all fell flat.
I could imaging O’s fans faces when after getting their hopes up early this season again that the team was beating blown past by the Yankees during a blistering June.
After the all-star break the Yankees were up by ten and the O’s were looking at adding another year to my favorite Orioles taunt…
What’s the difference between Yankee Stadium an Camden Yards? You can always get a hot dog in October in Yankee stadium.
(my favorite thing in life is to taunt Orioles fans. I absolutely love it. It was the only joy I got out of living in Maryland. Their fans are so bitter, so salty and so bad that their Yankee hate ticked me off.
The worst was when the Red Sox took off and O’s fans adopted them as their second team. Watch Camden Yards in a sea of red was beyond sickening. Baltimore fans never understood sticking with your team through thick and thin and I killed them for it every single time. I kind of miss it actually.)
Then all of a sudden Buck Showalter started working his magic coinciding with the Yankees catching the injury virus. It started with A-rod going down with a hand injury and has forged ahead with a string Wieters big hits, Jones’s MVP like clutchness, the revival of JJ Hardy and a rotation that I could tell you nothing about.
Their top guy is a dude called Wei-Yei Chen, he has a 4.06 ERA and 12 wins. Their closer Jim Johnson is someone the Yankees used to kill and he has an ERA near 3. I have to stop looking at stats because based off of stats alone I’m getting ticked off that this team climbed back into the race for the AL East.
There’s no way that a team with a shoddy rotation and a lineup without a guy batting over .300 should be ahead of the Yankees or Rays for that matter.
However, that’s the case.
With 20 games left the Orioles and Yankees are tied for the division lead and the Yankees have become a mash unit.
A-rod, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Mark Teixiera and a cast of thousands have been on the DL in the last month. David Robertson hasn’t been the same since injuring himself earlier this season and now Derek Jeter has an ankle sprain.
I know Jeter said he isn’t panicking but he’s gotta be thinking what next?
With these injuries, lack of clutching hitting and a banged up rotation consisting of David Phelps and Freddy Garcia, how much longer can the Yankees hold on to the slimmest of leads?
This is an Orioles fan dream. A suffering Yankees team, a pennant race 16 years in the making, baseball fans around the country pulling for them and all the bounces seem to be going their way.
The real telltale sign was this weekend during a four game set at Camden Yards. Since I was a kid I called it Yankee Stadium south because there were always more Yankees than O’s fan packing the stadium.
Not this time. It was all orange everything, deafening noise and you couldn’t see a speck of blue.
That’s when it really hit me, the Orioles are back. Thank god I’m in not Maryland to be a part of it.